Mayor Daley Commemorates 79th Streetscape Project

79th Streetscape2

Photo: Ernest Sanders

It was a warm and beautiful day in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood as Mayor Richard M. Daley joined community residents and leaders at the corner of 79th and May to commemorate the 79th Street Streetscape project.

 The Mayor graciously acknowledged the accomplishments of several community leaders, elected officials, and local business owners to include (from left to right): Fr. Michael Pfleger of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, Alderman Howard Brookins (21st), Alderman Latasha Thomas (17th), Debra Moore of Neighborhood Housing Service (NHS) of Chicago, Carlos Nelson of Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), Andrew Holmes of State Representative Milt Patterson’s office (D-32), Betty Swanson – President of the 79th and Carpenter Block Club, Acting Commisioner Cheri Heramb of the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT), and State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16).

“This is going to attract more people to 79th Street to shop, eat and meet their friends,” said Mayor Daley. “When more people show up, more businesses follow – and that’s how you build up a business district.”

Alderman Latasha Thomas commented on the beautification saying, “The 79th Street CTA bus route is the busiest in Chicago and many people have an opportunity to see the beautification on 79th Street.”

Alderman Howard Brookins said, “There is an improved quality of life for residents now because of the beautification of 79th Street.” He also eluded to more retailers coming into the community.

Community Residents

Community residents Joseph Collie and Jesse Rowry admire the 79th Street Streetscape Project

Photo: Ernest Sanders

Long time community residents Joseph Collie and Jesse Rowry agreed with the Mayor and said, “We think the streetscape and improvements on 79th Street are beautiful and want to see more of the same things done to these nearby vacant lots.”

There was even a resident who wished to remain anonymous and communicated mutual feelings through his body language. Known for their habitat in warm climate areas, a “praying mantis” insect too celebrated the 79th Streetscape project by squirming through the flower bed on the corner of 79th and May.

Perspecttives CS

Perspectives Charter School parent and students

Photo: Ernest Sanders

Shaping minds to shape the future,” was a synonymous theme that seemed to correlate with the 79th Streetscape project. A motto used at the new Perspectives Charter School-Calumet, both parents and students were elated to hear Mayor Daley uplift their neighborhood, beautification efforts and results.

Alderman Latasha Thomas spoke again to acknowledge the efforts of GADC, Cleanslate, and made special reference to 79th and Carpenter as an example for Auburn-Gresham blocks and block clubs in the city of Chicago. She then introduced Betty Swanson and talked about her national recognition as a block club president.

79th Carpenter Blk Club

Photo: City of Chicago Photo Services

Ms. Swanson then spoke and said, “The 79th and Carpenter Block Club has experienced a 180 degree turn for the positive. It used to be that no one would want to visit or drive on our block because of the crime. That’s not so today. We are proud of our accomplishments on 79th and Carpenter.”

Mayor Daley then summed up the efforts of the project and said, “…it’s part of a very impressive revival that’s been taking place in Auburn-Gresham over the last few years, thanks to the hard work of members of the public, private, not-profit and faith based communities.”

The mayor then thanked everyone again and opened for questions. He addressed issues of his veto of the Big Box Ordinance, increased public transportation routes, the Olympics, and his recent visit to Capital Hill.